Knudsen was a contemporary of another great Canadian golfer, Moe Norman. The pair used to play together with money changing hands every time one of them hit the pin. Lots of money changed hands on that basis, it being a toss up as to who hit the ball closest using totally different swings.
How good was Knudsen, and how sound was his swing? He once shot 67 at Glen Abbey where the Canadian Open has often been contested. While that may sound good, it sounds rather more impressive when you know that he did it with his eyes closed on every shot.
In his book, The Natural Golf Swing, George Knudsen tells how he swung the club. He was convinced that if you swung the club naturally, without any manipulation of the club with the hands, you could strike the ball on target consistently. His performance at Glen Abbey pretty much proved it.
Knudsen believed golf was not a game of hand-eye coordination because you were hitting a stationary target in the golf ball. Therefore, it is possible to have a swing that doesn't rely on hand-eye control. Instead the natural golf swing relies on a proper set up and balance. Knudsen wrote:
"It's amazing how quickly you can learn if you're in balance, and how much of a one-piece motion the swing really is. It's further proof that golf is not a hand-eye game. The ball just sits there. If you set up in a correct starting position and connect it to the finishing position, while using laws of motion effectively, you'll contact the ball along the way.
This insight freed me. It really woke me up. I was amazed that I could make such a free swing without watching the ball. Here was a major clue: if we set up properly and simply make a motion to a target, then we didn't have to think about the ball. We would repeat the motion every time. The ball would simply get in the way."
Not all that long ago, I wrote about the fact that, when things start going awry, I can find my swing again when I swing with my eyes closed. When you swing "blind" you must swing within yourself and in balance. Knudsen went on to write:
"Golfers have accepted so much. And they tend to accept that golf can't be natural. But you shouldn't mess with Mother Nature. Letting nature work frees us to enjoy golf. The game can be good for us if we allow things to happen. It's an entirely different experience from trying to make them happen. Once we understand the mechanics of the natural swing motion, we can use the natural laws to our advantage. Then we won't tie ourselves in knots every time we contemplate a golf shot."
So, for George Knudsen at least, there was a "natural" repeating golf swing. Whether that swing would transform everyone's game is debatable. But for anyone wishing to find their "natural swing," perhaps they might try closing their eyes and letting the ball "get in the way."